For the first time in three years, Merriam-Webster Online's Word of the Year (bailout) is rooted in the news rather than pop culture. In 2007, it was w00t, a word that expresses video-gamer joy. (W00t's two o's are represented by zeroes, which I typed in but look pretty much like o's in the blog's font, apparently.) In 2006 it was truthiness, Stephen Colbert's word for his own version of the truth. Previous Words of the Year include integrity (2005), blog (2004), and democracy (2003). The Word of the Year is kind of a gimmick, but I thought w00t and truthiness were kind of out-there picks. Of course, debating the merits of the word is part of the fun.
M-W doesn't make it clear how it picks the Word of the Year, though it implies that the intensity of people searching for it on MerriamWebster.com has something to do with it:
Bailout, defined in Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition as "a rescue from financial distress," received the highest intensity of lookups on Merriam-Webster Online over the shortest period of time.
Here's the top 10 list for this year, which included several from the presidential election and the economic crisis:
What do you think the Word of the Year should be? Nominate any of the above, or your suggestions, in the comments.
Thanks to the Editrix for bringing the Word of the Year to my attention.